Louis C.K. tackles abortion, suicide, napping at Fox Theatre show

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actor Louis C.K. speaks onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 28: Actor Louis C.K. speaks onstage during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How do you know when you’re a big deal? Announce a concert just seven days before it’s scheduled and sell out in a blink of an eye. That’s how Louis C.K. rolls. (Dave Chappelle is the only other stand-up I can think of in recent years who has been able to get away with that.)

Louis gave Atlanta fans at the Fabulous Fox Theatre a full 90 minutes of consistent laughs with his impressive mix of mordant observational humor, dirty imagery and self-deprecating stories about fatherhood – all new material that hasn’t shown up on Netflix or Comedy Central yet. (The Fox Theatre had signs everywhere noting that there could be no recording whatsoever and ushers wandered up and down the aisle to ensure people didn’t even have their phones lit in any way.)

The 49-year-old, balding New Yorker has been honing his stand-up craft for more than a quarter century and he makes it look easy. He can take mundane topics like napping and spin them into genuine laughs. He can also broach taboo topics and find ways to get audiences to chuckle, however uncomfortable he makes them feel.

Entering the stage in a business suit (yes, he means business!), he didn’t open with typical platitudes like “Hey Atlanta!” or “It’s great to be here in this beautiful theater.” Nope. He just said “Abortion!” And away he went, finding nuggets of truth on both sides of the argument.

He soon tackled the delightful subject of suicide in multiple, fantastically funny ways. At one point, he said  napping was a lot like suicide but then taking it back. Later, he noted that he likes life “just enough” to not kill himself. And as an aside, he wondered why most people who have crap lives still choose to live anyway.

Later, he found a way to twist white privilege by imitating a customer service manager helping him out but peppering the word “white” into every sentence to ensure that Louis knew he was being properly serviced.

While he rarely does traditional jokes (set up, punchline), he decided to throw out a riddle that even eight year olds know well: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” But he naturally found a twisted way to take it so it became an amusing tale of America’s viewpoints on black people instead.

And he’s the type of comic you almost forget can do funny voices, whether it’s a 1970s era black dude, a vampire or a snooty hotel employee.

He ended his set with an extended riff on having gay fantasies about Matthew McConoughey and Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike” that drew a very fine line between hilarious and offensive. It was certainly up to the listener to decide which side he landed.


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